August 21 - 27, 2011: Issue 20  

More Good News 14.8.11

Last week we were privileged to attend the NBI DisabiliTea at Warriewood and bring you news of the Every Australian Counts campaign. Earlier this week we received news that the Federal Government will begin laying the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Northern Beaches Interchange provides Respite, Recreation and Carer Support for people with disabilties and their familes. This step forward is good news for the great team of staff and volunteers at NBI and our community.

The Federal Government's Press Release on NDIS support:

TITLE: Productivity Commission final report into disability care and support

PORTFOLIO: Prime Minister and Cabinet

URL: The Gillard Labor Government today announced that it will start work immediately with states and territories on measures that will build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, following the release of the Productivity Commission's final report into the matter. The Government asked the Productivity Commission to examine reform of disability support services because we believe that the system we have today is not delivering the kind of care and support Australians expect for people with disability. The Productivity Commission outlines the creation of these schemes would ensure that every Australian can have confidence that they will receive the care and support they need if they acquire or are born with a disability.

 Carolyn McKay

During the last few months we’ve had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn McKay, CEO of NBI (Northern Beach Interchange) on a few occasions. Founded in 1982 to respond to people seeking assistance and support to enable them to care for their children with disabilities, this Community based organisation now works with over 180 local families. Their aim is to support and strengthen family units and enable the young people with disability to participate more fully in the community.

A range of programs, with everything from surfing to camping to film making or theatre trips cater for those with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual disability or Down syndrome. As well as these Siblings Days, Carer Activities such as the Annual Mums Weekend Away or Family Activities such as Bush Dances and picnics allow support networks to be formed between family groups.

Always bubbly, even after a long hard day, alert and engaging, her tireless enthusiasm for her work and articulate expression, clearly indicating a passion for her role, piqued our curiosity about Carolyn.

How long have you been the CEO of NBI and how did you get involved in this area of work?

I have had the privilege of being the CEO of NBI for 5 years. I have worked in the community sector throughout my career, working for several government and not for  profit organisations in England and Australia starting out as a Social worker and then moving into  Management roles. I have largely focussed on and enjoyed  working with families and with people with a disability.
I particularly enjoy being involved with an organisation that is part of the community and that strives to provide flexible support to meet the needs of local people with a disability and their family.

Could you share one or two of your favourite moments from this work that encapsulate your experience heading up NBI?

Highlights for me would have to be when I get a chance to get out on the programs and observe first hand children and young adults having a great time supported by our fantastic team of skilled staff and volunteers.

Our Annual Family Fun Day which regularly attracts over 100 people and is a chance for the whole family to have a great day out and meet other families whilst the children enjoy a range of exciting activities is also a highlight and encapsulates one of NBI’s aims to foster supportive connections between families and across the community which strengthen families in their caring role.

Can you tell us a little about what makes a successful lady CEO (or any advice you'd give to girls wanting to head up an organisatiopn or business)?

I believe that it is extremely useful and desirable to have a good understanding of all the work of any organisation that you are leading and to promote a positive culture that respects everybody that is involved with the organisation irrespective of role. Passion for the work is also a great asset.

I strongly believe that young women can achieve in any area that they choose and that they should focus on finding careers that they will enjoy and find personally rewarding.

What is your favourtie place in Pittwater?

I love walking the tracks in Kuring Gai National Park.

What is your 'motto for life'?

Do what you believe in and believe in what you do

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